The number of hawkers in the city has risen and a survey to identify those flouting hawking rules has not ended even after two extensions of the deadline.
A hawker leader said it was unlikely to end on Saturday, the third deadline.
In two of the three targeted zones — Gariahat, New Market and Hatibagan — the survey team has come across more than twice the number of hawkers who had voluntarily applied to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) in 2015 to be enlisted as hawkers, according to figures given by the hawker leader who is involved in the survey.
The survey started on November 8 and was to finish by November 21, but the work could not be completed by the deadline.
Hawkers’ stalls in the New Market area during the survey last month
Hawkers’ stalls in Hatibagan in mid-November
An extension of seven days was granted and the survey resumed on November 27. The survey could not be completed even by the second deadline — December 3.
Another extension of seven days — till Saturday — was granted.
Debasish Das, the hawker leader, said the survey had counted 1,228 hawkers in the Gariahat area so far, up from around 450 who had submitted applications in 2015.
The KMC had in 2015 invited applications from individuals who wanted to be enlisted as hawkers.
In the New Market area, only around 60 per cent of which has been covered, 1,044 hawkers have been identified. In 2015, around 800 hawkers from the shopping hub had applied for enlistment.
Das had said earlier that 1,128 hawkers had been identified in Hatibagan in the latest survey. In 2015, only around 350 hawkers from the north Kolkata pocket had applied to the KMC for enlistment.
Hatibagan is the only place where the survey has been completed.
“It doesn’t seem that all remaining portions will be covered by Saturday,” Das said on Friday.
The survey is being done under the supervision of the town vending committee (TVC), which is made up of civic officials, hawker union leaders, elected representatives and cops.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, empowers the TVC to take decisions about the identification and regulation of hawkers. Das is a member of the TVC.
Debashis Kumar, mayoral council member of the KMC who looks after hawker issues, admitted that the number of hawkers had gone up significantly over the years. Kumar is also a member of the TVC.
The survey is also being used to inform the hawkers about some basic hawking rules: they cannot occupy more than a third of the width of a pavement, they cannot use plastic sheets to cover their stalls, no stall can be built facing a road and no part of the stall can encroach on a road.
But despite the survey having covered significant portions of the targetted zones, the rules are not being followed in any of these hubs.
Multiple hawkers sit with their wares on Humayun’s Place and Bertram Street in the New Market area. Hawkers have encroached on a road in Hatibagan, too. Almost all hawkers in Gariahat are still using plastic sheets to cover their stalls.
The KMC has drawn a line to mark where one-third width of a footpath ends. Some stalls at the Oberoi Grand Arcade have reduced their stall size, The Telegraph found recently.
Plastic sheets are inflammable and can feed flames in case of fire, said a KMC official.